Day 1 wrap: Columbia, San Antonio, Eugene regionals

By Ryan LavnerMay 15, 2014, 10:57 pm

The NCAA Division I men’s regionals got underway Thursday at six sites around the country. The low five teams after Saturday’s final round will advance to the May 23-28 NCAA Championship at Prairie Dunes.

Here are the first-round results from the Columbia, San Antonio and Eugene regionals (click here for complete regional scores):

Columbia Regional, at The Club at Old Hawthorne:

Leader: Oklahoma State (-16)

Second place: Missouri (-7)

Individual leader: Jordan Niebrugge, Oklahoma State (-7)

Rest of the top 5: Virginia (-3); LSU and Arkansas (+1)

Work to do: Arizona State (+3); Iowa (+3); Iowa State (+5); San Diego State (+6)

Skinny: The No. 2-ranked Cowboys got off to a roaring start, with four players shooting 70 or better on Day 1. Jordan Niebrugge, a 2013 Walker Cupper, and senior Talor Gooch are 1-2 on the leaderboard after 65 (bogey-free) and 67, respectively. … Taking advantage on their home course. Missouri shot 7-under 281 in the opening round. The Tigers are ranked 46th in the country and are the eighth seed in the regional. … All five of the top seeds are T-6 or better after the opening round.

San Antonio Regional, at Briggs Ranch Golf Course:

Leader: Georgia (-7) 

Second place: College of Charleston (-3)

Individual leader: Julien Brun (TCU) and Bryson Dechambeau (SMU), -5

Rest of the top 5: UCF and SMU (E); UCLA and TCU (+2)

Work to do: Georgia Southern (+3); Georgia State (+4); Vanderbilt (+7); South Florida (+11)

Skinny: College of Charleston, which was the No. 11 seed after receiving the AQ from the Colonial Athletic Association, sits in second place after the opening round. The team didn’t count a score worse than 72. … Two teams from Texas – SMU (E) and TCU (+2) – are in the top 5 after one round. … Fourth-seeded Vanderbilt is ninth after an opening 295, five shots out of the all-important fifth spot, but the Commodores are without one of their best players, Matthias Schwab. … TCU’s Julien Brun, who won the Big 12 title by nine shots, opened with 67 Thursday to share the early individual lead.

Eugene Regional, at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club:

Leader: Stanford (-4)

Second place: Oklahoma (E)

Individual leader: Patrick Rodgers, Stanford (-4)

Rest of the top 5: South Carolina and North Florida (+6); Oregon (+9)

Work to do: Houston (+10); Baylor (+14); Liberty (+15); Tennessee (+19)

Skinny: After wins in four of its last five starts, Stanford opened up a four-shot lead after the first round of regionals. … Playing on its home course, Oregon hung on to the fifth spot after Round 1 despite an opening 289 in which no player shot par or better. … Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers took the individual lead after a first-round 66. With 10 career titles, he needs one more victory to match Tiger Woods’ school record. … Houston is one of only two top-10 teams that are outside the top 5 after the first round of regionals. The Cougars, however, are only one shot behind Oregon. 

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.